Relocating cats, or pets in general, is not an easy task. In my previous post, I told you that we had to leave our cats in a pet boarding house in Indonesia to wait for their papers to finish before taking them to Estonia. Now I’m going to share the process of how we relocate our cats to Estonia.
After being separated for about 5 months, we’ve been going through a long process and pushing our boat out (read: spending a lot of money) to move them here. Luckily, Asep’s employer is willing to help cover most of the relocation cost, since they also believe that pets are families too.
A lot of people thought that we have cats of expensive breeds. No, we do not. Our cats are common domestic cats. They came to our house in 2015 and 2016 when they were kittens, and we took them in until now. We love them so much and consider them as our kids. 😸
In fact, this relocation is not their first, since we’ve been moving a lot. From Jakarta to Bali (Indonesia) and now to Tallinn (Estonia). I think they have their own portion of experiences too in the whole moving process, and of course, it helps to lower their stress level too.
Relocating pets internationally is not as easy as domestic relocation. There are many regulations that need to be obeyed—especially when moving to a European Union member country, since the region known as the most regulated region in the world. And because we were already stressed out with our ultra-busy and tight relocation schedule, we decided to hire a pet relocation agent. But before that, there are several pieces of information we managed to gather to prepare ourselves before hiring the agency.
1. Requirement for moving with pets in Estonia
The first thing you need to do is to look for the requirement of the country you’re moving to. In our case, we searched on how can we move with pets from third world country (Indonesia) to Estonia. We found the top result on Estonia’s Agriculture and Food Board (Põllumajandus- ja Toiduamet). They provide the regulations on how to travel with your pets for non-commercial purposes, a.k.a not for sale nor transferrable.
Your pet can be imported within 5 days from your arrival to Estonia. Better if you can arrived together with them, since it will be easier when you have to declare them. And we also found another important information about documents we’re going to need from PetTravel.com.
Important documents you need to have beforehand
If you’re coming from a developing country like us, you’re going to need:
- Microchipped your pets with EU standard microchips. Contact your vet to get information about this. Not every vet able to provide this service. We managed to get our cats microchipped in Bali, where there were only two vet clinics that provide this service.
- Rabies vaccination. These rules vary depending on your country of origin. So, double check the regulations provided by your destination country.
- Blood titre test, to check whether your pets already has protection from rabies or not. This kind of test took us a very long time (about 2 months) since there were no laboratorium able to do the test in Indonesia, that is certified by European Union. In our case, the blood sample of our pets were sent to a lab in UK. So far away, right? 😰
- Health certificate from your vet with the stamp of approval from related ministry.
Otherwise, you still need to check the requirements from your destination country. It will save you tons of resources on your hand.
2. Looking for pets relocation agency
We gather a lot of informations on our side, but we still had our big portions of worries and doubts. With all the things we had to do to relocate ourselves and the furry babies, the timeline was too tight. We only have less than 3 months to do it all. We were too worried that we’d miss something.
That’s why we decided to hire a pet relocation agent to take care all of the documents and materials needed for the relocation. If you happen to plan for your pet relocation from Indonesia to abroad, you might want to contact Animal Express to help you taking care of your pet’s documents and international flight needs.
3. Important timeline for your consideration
When planning to move abroad with your beloved furry family members, there are a couple of things you need to know:
- The microchip needs to be installed after your pet’s Rabies vaccine administered, so that the vaccine data could be entered into the microchip database.
- A Rabies blood titer test can only be done 3 months after vaccination date, and the results will come out 4-8 weeks after (exclude the time to send the blood samples to UK).
Since those procedures took more than 3 months for us, with a heavy heart, we have to leave them in our pet boarding of choice, Pondok Pak Chiko, in Indonesia. We decided to focus on all matters related to immigration that are needed in the destination country—long-stay visa, looking for apartment that can accept pets, waiting for our temporary residence permit to be issued, and saving up some money to pick them up.
4. Choosing airlines to bring your pets with you
Mid of February 2022, we decided to pick the boys from Indonesia. We planned to go together, but the restriction in Indonesia made us think twice. The quarantine period was too expensive for two people. And after days of overthinking and consulting with an experienced friend, I decided to go back alone. Yes, intercontinental solo traveling for the first time! 🥳
But before that, we need to decide which airline can carry our pets before we can purchase a round-trip ticket.
Some friends asked, “Why should they be picked up and not just to be sent to Estonia?” The answer is the “5 days of arrival together with the owner” rule. If the animals were sent without proof of the owner also flying from the country of origin to the European Union, then the status of the animal becomes “commercial import”.
The documents are going to be completely different and they are a whole lot more expensive. The only airline that can bring animals without their owner is Lufthansa, and they can only be sent to Frankfurt (Germany) because Estonia does not allow animals to enter without their owners. It means that we had to fly to Germany and pick them up. A very expensive option. It’s easier and cheaper to pick them up to Indonesia.
For the airlines option, there were 3 that is internationally known to bring pets with you: Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways and Lufthansa. I decided to use Turkish Airlines since I’ve flewn with them before, and they’re the only one that has direct flight from Istanbul to Tallinn (Estonia). Oh, and my house is just 3 tram station away from the airport! 🥰 It was the most affordable option we can have, and we took it.
Initially, I want to take one of my cat with me in the cabin, and the other one on the cargo. Why? Cabin is cheaper by the half than cargo cost. But after having a thorough deliberation, and knowing my cat’s behaviour, it’s best for them both to be in cargo. I can have a good rest on flight! 😂 Plus, I don’t have to listen to their tantrum, especially the stress on security checks. 😓 Can’t imagine the hassle…
If you are still confused about which airline to use, you should check the rules and costs regarding bringing animals on each airline and adapt them to your needs.
5. Moving day
When your moving date comes, there are a couple of things you can prepare for your pets:
Pet carrier / kennel
Each airline provides thorough information on how you can bring your pets with you. As long as you follow it, you’ll be fine, and you can even enjoy your flight.
If you bring your pets in the cabin, Turkish Airlines asks you to use soft bag that can be tucked in under the seat. You’ll also need to bring some food / snacks for them to eat, and training pads for change, just in case they want to pee or poo.
But since I used the cargo, my relocation agent provide me with this hard case pet carrier / kennel box. It’s included on their service, actually. That is very helpful since I don’t want to picked the wrong specs of carrier.
Pets need to be comfortable first to avoid the stress of long-haul flight. Therefore, you’ll need to put:
- A container for dry food;
- A bottle for drinking water (don’t forget to take care of the dripping water. It can wet your pets. So, please be thoughtful.); and
- Training pads for when your pets need to pee or poo. 🤭
This video below shows how our agent prepare the pet carrier.
Do not forget this on your flight. You will need them for check-in before departure and declarating after you arrived on your destination. So, put it on your backpack, and keep them safe and accessible for you.
I hope this help on your relocation journey with your beloved furry babies.
Don’t panic, keep yourself informed, and you’ll be fine and even have a pleasant relocation experience.